Legislation sponsored by Tim Eustace requiring the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to provide compressed or liquefied natural gas refueling and electric vehicle recharging stations at certain rest areas along the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway was approved Monday by an Assembly committee.
“There is nothing worse than running out of gas on a dark and busy highway. It’s not only a nuisance, it is not safe,” said Eustace (D-Bergen), who owns an electric car and knows first hand the difficulty of finding a charging station. “The number of electric cars being driven on our roads may not match the number of gas-fueled cars, but we still have a responsibility to provide these drivers with sufficient fueling and charging stations, especially on heavily travelled highways.”
The bill (A-3419) requires the NJ Turnpike Authority to provide or arrange for compressed or liquefied natural gas fueling stations and charging stations for plug-in electric motor vehicles at no fewer than four rest areas each on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. The bill also requires that no fewer than two stations be made available to the extent feasible on the Atlantic City Expressway. Such stations are to be geographically distributed in the northern, central and southern portions of the state in such a way as to provide maximum refueling and recharging services throughout the state.
There are currently over 11,000 alternative fueling stations in the United States and 78 in New Jersey. According to a 2012 report by Environment New Jersey, a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization, more than 13,000 drivers in New Jersey could purchase their first plug-in vehicle within the next three years. The report stated that with the right policies in place in New Jersey, plug-in vehicles could reduce oil dependence by more than 3 million gallons per year.
“There is little point in investing in an electric car if the infrastructure is not there to support it,” said Eustace. “This bill helps residents who already own electric cars, as well as those who are considering buying one, but are worried about the accessibility of charging and refueling stations.”
The bill was released by the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities